AJC: Fast-pass security lines are “so-called ‘Lexus lanes’” because we call them that

You have to love The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Dying a slow death as the market it serves grows rapidly, the AJC editors can’t help but deride the people in metro Atlanta who should be their target audience.

Case in point is a story in today’s paper about a pilot program at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport that may bring fast-track airport security lines to the country’s biggest airport. Aimed at frequent travelers (most likely business travelers), the concept is that for a fee a traveler can be “cleared” as a non-threat through background checks, and thus be allowed to go through security in a special line for travelers who have all been “cleared” as unlikely security threats.

And despite the fact that today’s story is merely about the airport manager issuing a contract that could bring the pilot closer to reality, this is the headline AJC went with:

Airport Lexus Lanes

Ah, yes, don’t miss the opportunity to drum up a little wealth and class envy in a mundane story about a government contract. And never mind that the likely users of this program are the people who have been flooding in to metro Atlanta for the past 20 years … who you need as customers … and who already despise your product because of exactly this kind of crap. Any chance to throw out “Lexus lanes” and rile up that shrinking part of the metro area’s population who still view you as relevant – go for it. Feels good, doesn’t it?

And I was intrigued by the actual reference (in the 9th paragraph) in the story to “Lexus lanes”:

Proponents of the so-called Lexus lanes say they guarantee a trip through airport security in about five minutes. Opponents say they discriminate against travelers who can’t afford the annual fee and raise civil liberties concerns.

So if they’re “so-called Lexus lanes”, somebody’s got to be calling them that, right? Well, if you do a Google search for airport security Lexus lanes and take out references to HOT lanes on freeways, you get a grand total of 44 results. Several are still referring to freeways when “Lexus lanes” comes up, and a bunch more are tied to the AJC referring to them as such. There’s nothing at all to suggest that “Lexus lanes” is some common way to refer to these things.

I can see the flow in the AJC newsroom:

Reporter: Hey editor, the airport put out a contract for the fast-track security lines. No big deal, really. They have to do that, but it doesn’t mean it’ll happen.
Editor: You mean the rich people are closer to being able to get special treatment? Awesome!
Reporter: Well, I didn’t say that. And this is really just a procedural step.
Editor: OK, let’s headline this thing “Airport ‘Lexus Lanes’ closer to a test run”
Reporter: “Lexus lanes”?
Editor: Hell yeah. Rich people drive Lexuses, you know. So it’s like those rich people lanes on the freeways.
Reporter: We have those?
Editor: Well, no. But other places do. And editors of newspapers in those places call them “Lexus lanes”.
Reporter: This really isn’t the same thing.
Editor: Sure it is. Slap that headline on your story and file it.
Reporter: But the story doesn’t say anything about “Lexus lanes”.
Editor: Lemme see that … OK, change “Proponents of the program say …” to “Proponents of the so-called Lexus lanes say …” down here in the 9th paragraph.
Reporter: Who calls them “Lexus lanes”?
Editor: I do. Thus, they are “so-called”.
Reporter: {sigh} Whatever you say, chief.

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One Response to “AJC: Fast-pass security lines are “so-called ‘Lexus lanes’” because we call them that”

  1. Drew W says:

    I cannot wait for the Mercedes & BMW owners to unite in protest that their class status has been undercut by a luxury Toyota Camry!

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